Choosing a Microphone for Courses, Webinars and Live Streams

tools and resources Feb 12, 2019
 

Choosing a microphone is one of the most important pieces in your toolkit when it comes to creating your courses, webinars and live streams.  Why?  People may forgive bad lighting, tech issues that occur during a live stream but the same is not true for bad audio. Viewers will stop watching a video if the audio is poor.

Types of Microphones

There are all types of microphones that range from $20 or so to several thousand dollars.  However, that is not our goal.  We want a microphone that works in various scenarios and one that won't break the bank. Let's check out the different types.

Computer Microphones

By far, these are the lowest forms of microphones.  They sound good-enough to hear our music or maybe watch a movie but when it comes to sound quality for a course, webinar or live stream, you definitely want something more.  

Lavalier Mics

Lavalier or Lav mics come in a variety of flavors. Some connect direct to the camera or computer while others are wireless.  They can have great sound but you need to ensure that the mic doesn't pickup  sound of clothing while recording.  Wireless Lab mics are awesome but they are more complicated and definitely more expensive.

Wireless lav mics are typically used when speaking at a conference.

Webcam Mics

I love Webcam mics for their versatility and ease of use.  A good webcam, such as the Logitech C92x,  has video and audio built-int. Plus, with 1080p video, it records a crisp HD quality that works great for webinars or online meetings.  Although these mics work pretty well when they are not too far from you, that don't work so well if you need need to move it away to capture a full-body video shot.

Boom Mics

Boom mics are mostly used on an extension pole or on top of a camera such as a DSLR or camcorder to add better audio.  The Rode Video mic is a popular  option for camera use.  Boom mics are also a good overhead option when mounted on a pole or structure. A boom mic maybe a great option for you if your studio setup dictates the need for it.

USB Mics

Many USB mics are prosumer mics, meaning that they affordable and typically can be connected directly to a computer or laptop without any additional cables. USB mics are typically very easy to setup and can have a great sound. My favorite, which you will hear in the video, is the Blue Yeti USB Mic.  It is solid and has different settings for:

  • bi-directional mode - best for recording you and a guest
  • cardoid mode - best for educing noise around the mic
  • omnidirectional - best for multi-person recording like a conference call
  • stereo mode - best for recording musical instruments 

XLR Mics

XLR Mics can be quite expensive and are definitely used more in professional scenarios.  Since XLR mics connect to a sound board or mixer and then the mixer connects to the computer, the cost is typically higher than that of USB.  The Blue Yeti Pro is the big brother to the Yeti in XLR form.

Which do you prefer?

After you listen to the mics that I have available, comment below on which mic you prefer?

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